Friday, September 26, 2014

Recommendation: 'The murder complex' by Lindsay Cummings

Meadow is a fighter and a survivor, she has spent her whole life learning how to fight and stay alive.  What most people would call torture she called training, a sign her father loved her as he prepared her for the often brutal life that is the Shallows.  Zephyr is a Ward, an orphaned burden on the state who cleans the streets of garbage, including the remains of the people who failed to stay alive in the Shallows.  They lead very different lives and keep very different secrets, but those worlds and secrets are about to collide.

For years Meadow has focused on one thing and one thing only - the survival of her father, brother, and sister.  Her father was lucky enough to get work as a fisherman, and her chance to get a job of her own will literally mean the difference between life and death for her family.  Zephyr hides a dark secret, inside his mind is a ticking time bomb and he dreads the next time he will be called to murder someone.  In a world where the plague has been cured and the simple wounds heal quickly and cleanly, there has been an explosion in the murder rate - and Zephyr plays his part in that explosion with a dozen bodies to his name.  When their worlds collide Meadow and Zephyr learn that they each hold part of a deadly secret, one that people will kill to protect - and already have.

The murder complex is a dark and compelling thriller wrapped up in a dystopian wrapper, a genre bending novel that catches you up in the story and keeps you on the run with twists and turns.  Talking up the plot and the characters too much runs the risk of ruining the light bulb moments in this story, so rather than ruin the surprises I would rather say that this is a meaty read that leaves you wanting more - you will not feel cheated by the characters, the location, or the situations they face.  This is not just another author jumping on the dystopia band wagon, Cummings has her own voice and it is a good one.

This is a read best suited to older teens as the material is pretty dark and confronting, but if you are a younger teen with someone to talk to about the issues raised then you will also find a lot to like here.  While the ending is a satisfying conclusion to the story, there are hints that this may be the first book in a series (here's hoping anyway).

Title: The murder complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
ISBN: 9780062220004
Published: 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

- Em, Central City Library


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